Flavor for beans and bugs in rice

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Everybody seems to be worried about how to fix beans and grinding wheat for different varieties of bread. Listen folks, there is real major trouble coming. Forget the 2000 bug...Last week Dr. Yasser Arafat, President of Palestine, repeated his statement to the UN that on or before May 14, 1999, he will declare Palestine and Gaza a free and independent state. He will march his Palestine police army into Jerusalem and claim the old city as the capital of a free Palestine. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, has said that this action will nulify the Osolo Peace Agreement and the Israeli Army will push the Palestianians out of the West Bank forever. Both sides believe that their God is with them and will give them victory. Osama bi Laden, Saudi multi-millionaire and terrorist, has vowed publicly to cleanse the Muslim holy site in Jerusalem by destroying the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The FBI has reported that his operatives have been actively seeking to purchase from the Russian Army black market a small suitcase size nuclear bomb. He intends to detonate this bomb in front of the United Nations building at the same time Dr. Arafat leads his soldiers to the Muslim temple site. This device can level Manhattan. Bin Laden is certain that this explosion will totally paralyze our country. This event is not only possible, it may be probable. Despite intensive CIA efforts to kill bin Laden, there seems no way to stop this disaster. It is now reported as fact that Iraq's military now possesses three small 20 kiloton nuclear bombs. They are nearly operational and when completed, Iraq intends to deliever them to three major US seaports in unmarked cargo ships with suicide crews. Our chief inspector resigned over this 4 weeks ago and with the failure of UN inspection systems, this event may now be probable.

All this is happening as we are in the middle of the Y2K disaster with a crisis of leadership in Washington. It couldn't have come at a worse time. I think everyone reading this form is wise to prepare for a long drawn out geopolitical and social storm of great magnitude. I think we are going to need more that some buckets of wheat and rice to survive.

-- Tom Format (Tom Format@aol.com), October 04, 1998


Tom,...you've posted some important information to this forum. Don't make the mistake of disparaging the storing of food in the process. Argument-wise it gains nothing, and may just cuase people to "listen away" from what you are saying. Folks can prepare for all sorts of events and still grasp what you are saying.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), October 04, 1998.

Maybe beef bouillion cubes would help.

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), October 04, 1998.

Although this is pretty eye opening and scary...I thank you Tom for making us aware of what is down the road. I did show your post to my husband, but he went back to watching the football game. He takes a lot of this stuff in but doesn't seem to get all worried or shook up over things that he feels he has no control over. That is good, because if he was the type to panic, I too would lose it. Sometimes what I read scares me, but knowing ahead of time makes it easier to accept, hope, pray and prepare for what's coming. Blondie

-- Blondie Marie (Blondie@future.net), October 04, 1998.

Tom- where did you come by your information?

-- Max Dixon (Ogden, Utah USA) (Max.Dixon@gte.net), October 04, 1998.

Hmm. Let's calm down.

The last testimony by Scott Hamilton (I believe that's his name), the US chief inspector who resigned, was that Iraq had everything for the bombs except the guts. They didn't have the bombs yet. Even this testimony was disputed by other members of the UN inspection team.

Second, there has been an increase in preparation for all sorts of violence in the Mid East. One article I read indicated that rabinnic (sp?) Jews were intending to lay the cornerstone of a new temple on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. True? I don't know, but this would probably also kick off quite a bru-ha-ha, too.

Third, we've lived for some time under the threat of nuclear terrorism.

Will some one try it? Probably. Several terroristic attempts have been stopped in their tracks already. The FBI has done a really good job with this so far.

Will they succeed? Maybe. If enough people try enough times they'll succeed eventually.

Will going into panic over it, or worrying about it help? No!

Will continuing to establish a food and power reserve help us? Yes.

So, why the post ridiculing our preparations? Does it serve any purpose? I don't think so.

-- rocky knolls (rknolls@hotmail.com), October 04, 1998.


scary stuff, indeed. thanks for your info.

i have tried iin the past to introduce a little perspective because it seemed to me people in the forum were looking at the world through the y2k keyhole.

but for the moment, I can't think of a better solution to the manifold problems the future holds than to make oneself as self-sufficient as possible in a community of friends and neighbors, and then, reasonably comfortable and secure, one can with one's friends & neighbors begin the process of dreaming up a new politics, a new way of living, a new relationship to the planet. One might also answer the question: for what purpose am I alive in the first place?

y2k is a symptom of what ails us, not a cause.

-- Joseph Danison (JDanison@aol.com), October 04, 1998.

The difference between Y2K and many of the other disaster predictions, is that we know exactly when the year 2000 will arrive. Much like a hurricane, we can see it coming. From what I hear, few people are really ready for earthquakes in California, even though the "Big One" has been predicted for years, and most of them believe it will happen - but no one knows when or where.

The possibility of terrorism is growing, and is always with us. But it is so difficult to defend against because it cannot be predicted with any accuracy. Wars in the Middle East have been a fact of life since Isreal was created. The destablization of Russia is a scary thing. They have so many nukes laying around. Yet how long can we keep even the smallest countries and terrorist organizations from building nuclear weapons? We live with these realities constantly, but the "when" and "where" are totally unknown. The threats are real, but the odds of something happening to ME or MY FAMILY seem rather long, so we take our chances.

The year 2000 WILL arrive. The odds of ME and MY FAMILY being affected are quite high. So we prepare.

We may need more than some buckets of wheat and rice to survive what lies ahead, but without a crystal ball, who knows what it will take? We'll always need to eat to survive, so what better place to start?

-- Mike (gartner@execpc.com), October 04, 1998.

A long and interesting post, Tom, with a great many assertions, but they would have more force if you included the source(s) for your information. Suitcase nukes? Unmarked cargo ships? And there's nothing "small" about a 20-kiloton nuke. As it's now written, this reminds me of the guy who was going around all the right-wing talk shows last year warning about the 100 Iraqi terrorist teams in the United States armed with biological weapons smuggled into the country in the "body cavities" of female agents. (He seemed particularly obsessed with the body cavity angle.) I'm not saying you're in the same category, Tom, but some hard evidence would help your post's credibility.

-- J.D. Clark (yankeejdc@aol.com), October 05, 1998.

This is an example of something the average person cannot do much about (unless you happen to work at the UN in NYC and take the threat so seriously that you want to consider finding a new job).

So it makes little sense to waste valuable time worrying about it. Yes, it could happen but it far from a certainty at this point. But as has been mentioned above, we do know Y2K will happen and we know exactly when. We also know that there are things that the average person can do to prepare.

Fear can lead to paralysis ("Why worry about Y2K, the terrorists are going to kill us all tomorrow anyway. All Y2K preparation is pointless.")

Unless it is your job to worry about such threats (or you just happen to have credible, provable personal knowledge - in which case you should be speaking to law enforcement officials), your time is much better spent working on things you CAN do something about.

Stay focused on the task at hand and do not be distracted by dangers which, though possible, are far from certain.

-- Arnie Rimmer (arnie_rimmer@usa.net), October 05, 1998.

I agree - worry about wha tcan be fixed, not what you (as a individual person) can't help. Publicize the other concerns, get "those who can do" "to do." They are legitimate, but nothing (other than your retoric in the right places) you can do anything about.

Bugs in the program? Fix 'em. Test for others. Fix 'em.

Beside, bugs in the beans? Get rid of them. They don't taste good, and might be confused with the birdseed and sunflowers.

In 15 months, you may be much more worried about 14 months worth of bugs in your rice than you are about a Mideacistern terrorist.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 05, 1998.

I have an small garden area that is covered with heavy plastic, and one foot of earth over that. If there is fallout from a limited nuclear event or "exchange" (I love that term - it makes it sound like christmas!), I spend a week to a month in a contained environment, then clear off the earth and plastic and plant my garden in clean soil. If there's a blast, or heavy and prolonged atmospheric radiation, I'm in trouble; but I think it more likely that I'll be faced with ducking a temporary, albeit very nasty cloud, from some remote region. Simple preparations like this could make the difference between me and mine living another five years or another fifty, after. Why not make them?

Additionally, Y2k will create tremendous financial problems, which will in all probability lead to war. To get this economic collapse = war equation spelled out for you, read the relevant articles in this month's "Esquire" magazine, for starters.

And don't forget the beef bouillion cubes, lots of them.


-- E. Coli (nunayo@beeswax.com), October 05, 1998.

The keyhold of y2k is so easy to look through. It has the great advantage over other possible disasters in that it is predictable. We know when....but we don't really know what, do we, unless we are subscribers to the Gary North pov. It may not require a stash of rice & beans at all, by itself alone. There is very little that is certain about it, except that it is scheduled to occur.

Has anyone looked at the weather lately? It is changing. That is certain. It is less predictable than ever and creating more havoc around the world than ever, according to the UN. Only academics would maintain otherwise. Now, this will require quite a stash of rice & beans!

The use of nuclear weapons is also a certainty, though not predictable as to time & place. There is no way to prepare for this certainty, except to try to eliminate nuclear weapons, which no one has yet done. I would much prefer y2k and its certainty, did I have my choice of disasters.

Earthquakes & volcanic eruptions are also certainties, and have been spiralling upward in terms of numbers of events and size & severity of events. Those who wish to avoid disasters from these sources know what to do. But there is wisdom is letting sleeping dogs lie.

The instability of the global ( recently become global ) economic system, our beloved system of untrammeled capital movement hither & yon, is certain to crash without the assitance of our beloved y2k, yet we cannot predict when precisely, nor can the cadres of financial wizards sticking their thumbs into the dikes and spinning the situation as best they can.

The global population is a bomb far bigger than y2k and we stand helpless before all its inevitable consequences.

I love y2k, actually. It's so easy, so predictable by comparison. When I feel disheartened, I turn to the y2k issue to make myself feel better.

-- Joseph Danison (JDanison@aol.com), October 05, 1998.

Joseph, you're right that we have a lot more to worry about than Y2K. I'll make the same point to you that I tried to make to Tom.

If I am prepared for the worst possible Y2K scenarion then I am also prepared for about 99% of this other stuff, including weather, earthquakes, neuclear attacks [it doesn't count if I'm at ground zero], and economic disaster. Sure, there are some things I have to add to my stores, but not a lot. That's why I believe Y2K preparation is the best thing I can do.

Depression for 5 years? Live off my garden, my neighbor's sheep, another neighbor's eggs, and a few deer and wild turkeys.

Neuclear explosion? Use my root cellar for the second purpose I had in mind, then surface, just like E, and start putting the pieces together. Earthquake? 6 feet of snow? Getting ready for Y2K has prepared me for a lot of things. I can sleep better now.

We live in interesting times.


-- rocky knolls (rknolls@hotmail.com), October 05, 1998.

Like a great many things, a nuclear terrorist explosion is something that will almost certainly happen, though when and where we cannot say. There a very few things we can do to prevent such an event, however, it seems to me much more likely that France or Israel would be the recipient than the United States. However, if it happens it happens, and we that survive will have to pick up the pieces. I really don't think our nuclear arsenal is on such a hair trigger that the whole thing goes if a single explosion goes off in a single place without any air attack being seen. Esp. if the strike makes no attempt to take out part of our nuclear arsenal. Even the dumbest general has to take terrorist actions into account.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), October 06, 1998.

E etc:

The Beef Bouilion (-5 sp) cube reference has more than one use, see a book called "Pulling Through" by Dr. Dean Ing. THis is also a practical guide for Nuclear Exchange Survival. Dr. Ing has done a LOT of research, and imparts thelessons in both fictional and non- fictional form in the book. It will also be a HIGHLY useful resource for Y2K preps.


-- Chuck a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), October 06, 1998.

This is an OWIE. Just got it off of foxnews.

By Michael Binyon LONDON  Osama bin Laden, the exiled millionaire Saudi terrorist leader, has acquired tactical nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Central Asian states, according to a leading Arabic newspaper. Bin Laden, accused by America of masterminding the attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, has established a network of influential friends in Central Asia and Ukraine, according to the London-based al-Hayat.

Citing reliable diplomatic sources in Central Asia, the paper says that the Afghan-based terrorist has used this network to get hold of weapons from the former Soviet republics. It did not say how many weapons he had obtained or if he had paid for them.

The Foreign Office said Tuesday that it had no information about the reports, but added that bin Laden was a dangerous terrorist and all his threats were treated seriously.

The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies expressed scepticism, saying that it would be impossible to deliver such a weapon to a target without missiles, launchers and sites, as well as access to the codes and procedures needed to activate a nuclear device.

A spokesman said it was likely that criminals in the cash-strapped former Soviet republics had agreed to sell weapons, but these could be used only as radiological bombs scattering radiation if exploded conventionally in a car or truck-bomb attack.

BTW - I don't guess I have to tell you that the last two paragraphs are full of it. There is absolutely no reason besides a bit of electronics that a nuclear bomb built to be delivered by missle could not be exploded on the ground. If you have access to 97% plus pure U235 in critical mass quantity you can build a nuclear explosive without much trouble. Plutonium is considerably harder, but not impossible with todays manufacturing techniques. Err - did I ever mention what I studied when I went to college the first time back in the 70's? Physics.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), October 07, 1998.

No Paul, it's worse than that.

You don't need the Pu239 or enriched U235 at all. You don't need to machine or rebuild anything.

Much simpler to go at a single weapons depot in the dead of winter, bribe a starving guard sitting outside freezing in the sub-zero cold who has not been paid for 3 months, waiting to go home again to a family of hungry mouths, and walk away with the entire weapon.

What would it take? $50 in gold? $500? $5000? $50000?

A small (tactical) bomb is designed to fit INSIDE a cannon shell: less than 8 inch in diameter (some less than 6 inch dia), about 14-16 inches long. (See a Jane's weapons book for exact metric dimensions.) Since it gets shot, it is obviously shock and G-rated against damage. Most likely, the shock of firing sets a time delay fuse or an altitude fuse, and the same shock also trips off some kind of internal safety switch.

Weight? Heavy, but manageable with a hand cart or horse and cargo saddle, or sleigh. Then load it in a truck, cargo container or suitcase.

So you would only need to de-activate these safety devices (which is much easier than creating a timer and safety system) to let the thing blow up.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 07, 1998.

I know Robert, I was just pointing out that the last two paragraphs with the officials telling the paper "Don't worry, the Arabs are too dumb to figure out how to set the thing off", was a real crock. I wonder just who bought that, anyhow? Gee - the officials in London must think even less of their people that US officials. BTW - since you said you had a degree in nuclear engineering - I wonder if you remember how to calculate the size of a critical mass. I remember you start by integrating over the mean path before absorption, using the effective size of the nucleus of the isotope as regards a slow neutron (effective cross section) but have forgot the rest.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), October 07, 1998.

Considering the title of this thread, I'm sure we're gonna throw the CIA and FBI and ATF completely off track with this, but the heck, a little Pu in the rice never hurt anything, would it?

Realize I haven't covered these equations since spring 79, so I'm a little rusty. Forgive my brain if I forget something, my daughter thinks I'm only good for teaching Spanish to 8th graders, if I recall her comments. Besides, it would screw up the terrorists something terrible if they used these ramblings for a physics lesson.

Actual formula gets into the Bessel's functions (that's the result of the integration over a 3D volume I believe you were thinking of) for the core geometry (Bessel defferetial calculus gives different results (factors) for a sphere, cylinder, cube, or whatever. Happens that way becuase the losses are proportional to the degree of flux loss, and losses are proportional to the inverse "slope" of the curve defining the nuetron population over the volume of the core.

So first you define the geomtery you want to try to go critical, then back caluculate the losses, then figure out what amount of type of material could stay critical at that shape and enrichment, then recalculate to see if the material people can give that enrichment. Normally, they can't, so you recaluculate the geometry based on what they want to deliver for the budget they have, then find out you would need an ocean liner to get the bomb shipped.

Then the real war starts as the material people and the fabrication people and the nuclear physics people start arguing about who will change. Oh well, erasers at fifty paces never hurt anybody yet.

Formula for sustained criticality requires Keff=1.000; for supercritical ops, Keff >1.00035. That is, for each fission, if 2.43 neutrons are released from U235, 1.00035 times that amount of neutrons are present in the next generation still in the volume around the fissile material, still able to be absorbed. Means they haven't been lost ouside the core, haven't been absorbed by something else (a poison), and are at the right energy to be absorbed by the fissile material (Pu or U235).

Doesn't seem like much, but each generation lasts somewhere between 10-8 and 10-12 seconds. And the population is inceasing expontionally each generation = lots of fissions inceasing very, very fast. The result of each fission is more neutrons, and little thermal energy (times a whole lot of fissions per 10-12 seconds) and a little bit a radiation, and little bit of radiaoctive residue being thrown out at very high speeds.

The damage is done by the blast and thermal energy, the burns to exposed flesh and buildings by the thermal (light) radiation, and the long term radioactive residue really an inconvenience to the survivors, and rescuers, with very little areas actually "hot" enough to be deadly.

Note the difference: not deadly does not equal not important, but radiation after a blast is the least of the worries of those affected.

Now, this means a sphere is the most efficeint in terms of minimizing losses. The higher the enrichment, the more likely it is that a neutron will be absorbed in soemthing will fizz, and not "thud". The larger the sphere, the further a nuetron has to go before it leaves the effective geometry. The more neutrons are released per fission, the more that can escape before Keff < 1.000.

The neutrons behave differently at high energy (literally fast, or high speed) when they are first generated from fission, than at slow speed (regular atomic motion, or thermal). Okay, so this means we have to account for losses that happen as fast neutrons, and losses that happen at thermal energy. Also, one other thing confounding the mess: a few nuetrons will cause fission at high speed - before they slow down. This "fast fission" effect also causes extra neutrons to be present, and is a small number (I remember 1.032 for U235, something else for Pu.) Makes things a little more efficient.

Result equation is something like:

Keff = nefpLtLf

where this typewriter can't load the exact greek symbols for nu, (nuetrons/fission) epsilon, (fast fission multipilcation factor), p, Lt, Lf are bessel function for shape, Lt is thermal losses, Lf is fast losses.

Result of all calculations give you size of "ball" of Pu that must be present for fission to occur. (Give or take, a little bigger than a softball, smaller than a basketball for most common enrichments.

There are other things you can stick in the mix to get more nuetrons, faster bangs, etc. Work hard enough with enough exotic materials, your initial atomic (U235) bomb creates enough heat and pressure (like gravity does at center of sun) to cause hydrogen, dueterium, and lithium to fuse together into hellium (like at center of sun) to create a hydrogen bomb. very soon after, your preliminary atomic is also very widely spread out as a small part of the hydrgen bomb explosion.

To get a reactor, stick a control rod in the ball to absorb extra nuetrons => keep Keff = 1.00000, use heat for something useful.

The easy thing is the physics, the hard part (the part that requires the testing) is the assembly.

Slowly assemble ball together (as if you were screwing two halfs of bowling ball together) = initial little fissions as edges touch, cause heat, screw up geometry and create poisons, no long term reaction, no bomb.

Smash ball two halves violently together fast enough so fission doesn't delay things (like with a cannon), so Pu (or U235) slams together, you get the original "long" a-bomb used at Hiroshima. (Before they slam together, each half is too small to be critical.)

Smash the Pu togther from explosives "ringed" around the outside of the sphere (which has been machined to be hollow so it isn't already critical) then time the explosives (the triggers) with capicitors so all chemical explosives literlally explode at exactly the same time => you get the "fat" round a-bombs used at Nagasaki.

This is why you should watch for stories about the chemical explosives, the timers (triggers), the fuses (capacitors) and the machining technology that Iraq and Iran have been purchasing and using already. A weapons looks like a machine shop, except for those few parts that they must buy.

That is the technology that means "bang" or "bust" in weapons. the rest is easy machine shop work. Tom Clancy goes into good weapons assembly techniques in one of his books about a stolen Isreali bomb.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 07, 1998.

Generation time there would be more understandable 10-12 sould be 1x10-10 to 1x10-12 seconds. That is , there are 1x10+10 generations of nuetrons per second, give or take a pwer of ten or two.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 07, 1998.


That's why they usually use a hollow shere with a cylindar to fit, shot in at the usually HIGH speed to prevent the repulsion from sc**wing up the bang. the technology is, unfortunately in the public domain and ANY competent machinist cqan do ALMOST all of the assembly using relatively simple instructions. the possibility of one of teh suitcase version being owned and not being able to be set off is ludoicrous. Ref a novel I believe is called Burning Sands which uses german technicians . . . . . .


-- Chuck a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), October 08, 1998.


Your numbers are also why Nuke plant operators tend to retire suddenly. It's OK as long as they believe their instruments are representative of the current situation. At some point in time they realize that the instruments are reflective of HISTORY and that they have NO IDEA of the real time status of the pile because of the speed of the reaction, and the time required to get this info to the read- outs. they tend to retire VERY shortly thereafter and sometimes rather precipitately, or so I'm told by a reliable source.


-- Chuck a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), October 08, 1998.

No, design and op's for a reactor are fundamentally different, equal to trying to equate a Distance Early Warning Radar in Greenland with your kitchen's microwave oven. (The DEW radars are used to detect satellites and nuke warheads being launched over the poles from Russia: targets would be the missile or a group of warheads from the missile, each about 36" long, 12" in diameter at a distance of 10,000 to 5,000 miles.)

Both use radar technology, both came from the same fundamental physics equations of wave vibration and reflection and control, but the functional designs of each are not comparable: one focus 10-50 watts of power tuned to excite the water molecules in food into a higher physical energy (motion = heat) into a small protected space with door locks and a timer.

The second send Megawatts in afocused stream out thousands of miles to try get back reflected energy measured in milliwatts, then process and extract intelligence (time, distance, motion, size, angle, etc.) from that reflected stream of energy.

Retiring unexpectedly? No, not from the people I know in the business and the power plants. Retiring to reduce stress from the regulators and utilities? Yes, it happens. Just like people leaving the air traffic controllers and operating room physician positions.

My brother, my friends in other power plants in shift positions, are regularly moving and changing because of time differential effects on the family too. That is also a stress riser.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 08, 1998.

Robert, thanks for jogging my memory. It has been longer than 79 since I had anything to do with that branch of Physics, I held a seminar years ago about bremmstralung emissions from matter/antimatter plasma mixtures with special attention to peaks arising from shell (like electron shells but different due to mass differences) emissions from antiprotons approaching the nucleus before the final reaction. That was about 77 and was the last thing I had to do with atomic/subatomic Physics. Just was no job market for Physics or Astronomy at the time due to Nixon's enormous budget cuts - which was how I wound up in QC at a coal mine. I thought it was sort of funny when somebody or other made a big fuss a couple years back over antimatter not being suitable for weapons - I think I mentioned that in my little undergrad seminar that as the shell emissions take time, ie the antiproton hesitates at each shell to emit a photon - the reaction would procede rather slowly in terms of nuclear reaction rates, thereby making CT reactions unsuitable for bombs. Instead of a big bang you get sort of a slow fwoosh - at least if you just mix the matter and antimatter. Now if you chill the stuff to about .0000045 degrees Kelvin - just about as close to absolute zero as you can imagine, and both the matter and antimatter are properly balanced as regards electrons and positrons / protons and antiprotons - that is they are hydrogen and antihydrogen - the wave functions should not overlap enough to start a reaction. If a well mixed mass at such a temperature were violently disturbed - say by a chemical explosion - the reaction should procede at a much faster rate due to the reactants being much closer together at the start of the reaction than would otherwise be the case. Ya know, by now we prolly have both the NSA and the CIA staring at this thread.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), October 08, 1998.

Thank you Paul;

One of th efirst things I regret about Clinton's shutdown of the SuprtCollider (because it was being built in Bush's home state) was that the technology and experimental physics being developed and evaluated (not the "Science" of the Physics of the experiments themselves, that's esotric, not material) was directly applicable to the future work in fusion and energy production and control.

Includes crygenics, control at the picosecond level, high temps next to cyro temps, miles of sub-cooled fluis, liquid He and N2 by the ton, and fabrication of exotic material to an engineering level, not a theorectical level. All that design and expertise was lost due to politics and hatred by the White House.

Neat idea on antiomatter => "slower" reaction rates at slightly higher temps. Seems like what I cover below, for power (not bangs) you'd demand a controlable process, so you'd want to get away from the ultra low temps, now achieveable by the way, with laser slowing of individual atoms being routinely done so that they "stop" vibrating at the atomic level. Lets them "stack" individual atoms into controllable positons on a substrate. Never fiured out how they that smooth a substrate (maybe gaseous diffusion onto a single crystal to fil in the cracks between crystal matrix?)

How would you create/find the antimatter "fuel"? How would you store it for use on demand?

Regardless, ... about control. Chuck bring up an interesting point about control of the reactions in a fission plant that should be addressed.

Chuck, to quote your comment above about fission reactors:

"It's OK as long as they believe their instruments are representative of the current situation. At some point in time they realize that the instruments are reflective of HISTORY and that they have NO IDEA of the real time status of the pile because of the speed of the reaction, and the time required to get this info to the read- outs."

I respectfully disagree, depending on which plants, and what designs you are referring to. US, Canadian and most European power plant designs are set up around a thermal nuetron htting a fissile material, cooled by water (regular or heavy water (CANDU), the heat transfer is similar). This water heats up as it cools the encapulated fuel rods, and so heats the turbine )steam in the steam generator, or goes to the steam generator itself.

New (colder water) re-enters the reactor, is heated again, and the process continues. For a given rod height (thermal neutron flux loss level) there is a single operating point possible. (Rod withdrawal is very closely controlled by inherent designs (a Model T cannot (under any circumstances) go over 150 mph, just like the wrong rods cannot be withdrawn too fast), and by process controls (even at 25 mph, the Model T has to be driven in the correct lane. There are other related controls to prevent "driving" the reactor wrong in US designs.)

A US or European design is thermally stable because of a negative thermal coefficient = (1) if more power is needed by the turbine, (2) more heat energy is lost in the turbine (3) entry water into the core is slightly colder, (4) the reactor fuel cools slightly (5) becomes efficient in absorbing nuetrons (5) has more fissions per second (6) increases heat energy (6) heat the water more (7) increses power to the steam (8) the turbine responds to higher energy demand.

All of the above happens without operator intervention, once the reactor is operating in its regular temp range, calle Taverage (or Tave).

If too much power is being produced, the opposite occurs = (1) the fuel heats up, (2) te water around the fuel heats up (3) less neutrons are slowed down by the water (4) less neutrons are absorbed (4) less fissions occur (5) less heat is produced.

Russian reactor designs were optimized to produce a higher energy nuetron flux and so allow more recovery of weapons grade plutonium (Pu) as a by product of the fision power-producing reactions. To help create this, they didn't use the same water-moderated flux design, but many (Chernobyl included) used graphite (pure carbon) as a moderator around the fuel (which was not enclosed in cladding), then passed water around the carbon to produce steam for power.

The faster (higher energy) nuetron flux gave much more Pu production, to the point in some French reactors, you actually get more fuel out of a reactor than you start with. All that is required is recovery of the Pu and then recycling it to produce more power and more enriched U235 and more Pu.

(Recovery and recycling is not easy, but we have done it since the forties.) Again, it is only a political decision, not an engineering one. Also, protection of the output material (Pu and U235) is not technically difficult, but you have to do it right. (I have no confidence that the USSR reactors are safeguarding this material, nor that they know how much they have, where it is, etc.)

It is the control of this higher enrgy flux that could have been exagerated and so be considered "control of the past" reactions, and so makes the Russian control much more difficult. But they deliberately designed 'em that way to get Pu for weapons, not for power only with Pu production a by-product.

Control is possible of course for a Russian nuke, or they couldn't run the dumb things at all, but it is more difficult.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), October 08, 1998.

Hey Robert, did you ever see the layout for the Swiss (I think :) ) PIUS reactor? The reactor was designed to run in a sort of U tube with boron saturated water in the side of the U away from the reactor (light water reactor of course). The reactor side of the U is capped with an alloy that melts at slightly above high normal reaction temps. If the reactor overheats above a certain point, the cap melts, the reactor water drains to a safe sump, and the boron water fills the reactor and shuts down the reaction. I have never heard of any realistic scenario that allows a PIUS reactor to experience any sort of runaway. Course you have the problem of cleaning all that boron out of the core when you are ready to restart - pretty minor compared to some possible problems though.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), October 08, 1998.

Looking at the above I think it may need a little more clarification - what I meant was that I never have seen even one of the 'triple threat' accidents that made sense with a PIUS reactor. That is what I used to hear the "operator error combined with mechanical failure combined with instrument failure" accident called. Usually this was a scenario where it was assumed the operator did not respond correctly to a cooling water failure, combined with failures of the automatic shutdown systems, combined with failure of instrumentation leading to false assumptions about what was going on in the core. While you might call the sudden shut down of a PIUS reactor an accident, the reactor could be brought back on line as soon as the core was flushed of boron, the sump cleaned, and the U tube cap replaced. This seems much easier to fix and get back on line than the problems (admittedly very few) that have shut down or damaged three or four reactors here and in the UK and Europe - Three Mile Island being the most famous of them. The Soviet (and Chinese, or so I was told) reactors had a different or dual purpose, and an entirely different set of possible problems, as you correctly point out.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), October 09, 1998.

Thanks Bob for the correction on the timing and controls issue. My info might have been a tad um um out of date as the operators who told me (three, not known to each other and in different parts of the country) were out of the op. seats by 1985. And, if I remember correctly one wasn't an op but WAS intimately involved in the cleanup of TMI (Something about being a member of the family that has the bootie cleaning business for the country east of the Rockies. At that time there was only one and it was in Utica, NY).

Who BTW tells a wonderful story about the sealed room where the booties are cleaned. It seems that they thought they were done with the room and so they painted it with the required epoxy paint to give a completely sealed room except for the one door which is air-locked, vacuumed, etc. (Y'know neg pressure in the room and all that), and they were finished with the epoxy coat when they noticed that there was something missing. Seems that the staff was expected to work a full 8 hours in the room without exiting, and well, NO POTTY!!!!

So, they had to redesign, add a sealed, decontaminated potty (and don't assk about the disposal of the waste!) and re-paint with the epoxy. This wouldn't have been a problem, but in 1980's dollars, the paint was about $45 per sq yd!!


PS JC's uncle, who was used as a consultant on TMI spent an average of 9 hours each 24 on teh phone w/ NRC, etc. at TMI and they finally decided it was going to be cheaper to bring him down and pay his (USURIOUS) per diem than to pay teh phone bills!!

-- Chuck a Night Driver (rienzoo@en.com), October 09, 1998.

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